Lovebox has established itself as a bastion for vibrant, carefree fun in the centre of London; an annual retreat where you can wear what you want to wear and be who you want to be – for a couple of days, at least.
The festival’s signature colourful atmosphere was this year set-off by a darker edge, with the festival’s arid dustbowl frequently whipped up into an intense storm by cutting-edge hip-hop and grime talent. Skepta and Novelist were the first big hitters; set an hour apart, they represented a fiery cross-section of contemporary grime. Elsewhere hordes of attendees witnessed Action Bronson deliver an unyielding rendition of tracks from Mr. Wonderful. Even when a stage invader tried to interrupt his flow, a sharp right hook brought swift justice.
Maintaining its hedonistic roots, Lovebox’s dance line-up was seriously strong, and the addition of James Murphy and 2manydjs’ Despacio tent added an exciting new dimension to proceedings. Underneath an oversized mirrorball, cuts that included the Grange Hill theme tune darted across the dance floor with euphoric clarity. An essential touchstone for both purists and tourists, the Despacio tent is unique and totally essential; a wonderfully universal experience.
Saturday welcomed two acts with headline potential. Hot Chip didn’t let the only rain of the weekend dampen their spirits, bringing on their bemused looking children on for a rousing version of Bruce Springsteen’s Dancing in the Dark.
By this stage the crowd was wholly riled up for Snoop Dogg. He started strong, playing crowd-pleasing hits, and his own tracks continued to earn rousing responses. An elongated rendition of Joan Jett’s I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll and a closing run-through of Bob Marley’s Jammin’, however, have a distinct karaoke feel, considering this is one of rap’s greatest icons. But this is a party after all, and it’s not enough to dampen yet another thoroughly enjoyable entry into Lovebox’s history.